Dry Weather Almond Pest Control for Optimal Production
Amid California’s parched landscape, irrigated orchards are attractive oases for almond pests, making insect control an even more critical component of almond crop production this year. The University of California’s Frank Zalom, Ph.D., professor of entomology, and Franz Niederholzer, Ph.D., farm adviser, offer recommendations to help pest control advisers (PCAs) support customers as they navigate unprecedented growing conditions.
As growers head into what experts are calling the worst drought in decades help from experienced PCAs will be key to achieving the best possible outcomes. “Jim Cook, an experienced PCA and researcher in the north Sacramento Valley told me that this is a year when reputations will be made,” says Niederholzer. “Growers are facing unfamiliar challenges and will rely heavily on their PCAs for guidance and support.”
He recommends maintaining a strong presence in growers’ orchards. “Don’t wait for standard scouting and treatment times. Make regular visits, walk the orchards and report on what you see. Your presence can provide growers with peace of mind and demonstrate your interest in the long-term success of their operations.”
As heat units accumulate, almond pests such as navel orangeworm (NOW), which do not diapause, could emerge earlier than normal. “Pay attention to the biology of almond pests, not the calendar,” says Niederholzer. “Check pheromone and NOW egg traps regularly and watch for anything that looks suspicious. The more information you gather, the more accurately you can time spray applications later in the season.”
Optimize Foliar Applications
With potential for income-limiting water levels, growers will be cost-conscious when it comes to making foliar applications, says Zalom. One way to boost efficiency while protecting crops from insect damage is to take advantage of May sprays to target both NOW and peach twig borer (PTB).
An effective control option that suits that strategy is DuPont™ Altacor® insect control. Flexible application timing, long-lasting residual control and an excellent environmental profile make it an ideal fit for the spring period.
“May sprays were a practice we avoided with broad-spectrum insecticides because of concern over disrupting natural insect predators and mites,” says Zalom. “But now that we have products like Altacor® that are not as disruptive to beneficials and offer residual control, growers can take advantage of May sprays and likely control PTB and resident NOW populations with one application.”
Niederholzer cautions that drought-stressed trees may “harden off” earlier than in more normal years and could respond unexpectedly to foliar applications. He recommends careful planning ahead of spray applications. “Most of us have never worked in orchards under such extreme drought conditions. It makes sense to take every precaution to protect crops this year.”
Flexible Almond Pest Control Maximizes Yield Potential
Lasting, effective control and an excellent environmental profile make DuPont™ Altacor® insect control a valuable option for protecting almond crops. Key benefits include:
- Exceptional control of Lepidopteran pests, including navel orangeworm and peach twig borer
- Flexible application timing
- Short four-hour re-entry interval
- Minimal impact on beneficials
Excellent spray-tank stability under a wide range of pH levels
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